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As DRAM supply is tight worldwide, mobile DRAM prices stabilized in the second quarter. Furthermore, with Chinese smartphone brands on the rise and the spread of 4G networks, mobile DRAM shipments have been strong, pushing industry value to grow by 12% QoQ in the second quarter.
Amongst mobile DRAM manufacturers, Samsung remains on the throne in terms of the revenue ranking, whilst SK Hynix has reclaimed second-place status with 34.8% revenue growth, which is the highest in the industry. The Korean memory maker has pulled away from Micron in market share, indicate that achieving a balance between commodity and mobile DRAM production is already benefitting SK Hynix.
DRAMeXchange Research Assistant Vice President, Avril Wu, pointed out that in the third quarter, with seasonal demand picking up, global smartphone shipments are projected to grow by 13.1% QoQ, approximately 322million units, and mobile DRAM output is expected to increase with the rise in demand. As market supply is slightly tight at the moment, the ASP decline is expected to improve in the third quarter, with a projected 3-5% QoQ decrease.
DRAM Manufacturers Highlight
Samsung, though only experienced 10% QoQ growth, the manufacturer’s market share was 45.4%, roughly the same as in the previous quarter. The memory maker initially planned on lowering mobile DRAM production as Galaxy S5 sales were expected to be weaker than anticipated, but as Samsung has reentered Apple’s supply chain and will be releasing its new Note 4 device in the second half of the year, mobile DRAM capacity is stable.
The manufacturer plans to produce mobile DRAM on its latest 23nm technology in the second half of the year, which will lower costs and keep Samsung at the top of the industry when it comes to profit structure.
SK Hynix, market share jumped to 30% and revenue was impressive as well, mainly due to contributions from the two major clients, Apple and Samsung. The manufacturer is migrating to the 25nm process, while focusing on China – the rapid growth of China’s smartphone brands will benefit SK Hynix significantly, keeping its market share around 25-30%.
Micron, it’s mobile DRAM market share was 22.6%, a 4.1% QoQ decrease. The second quarter was slow for Apple, Micron’s largest client. iPhone shipments dropped by 5.5% QoQ, resulting in a slight revenue decrease for Micron.
However, the memory maker should see significant growth in the third quarter, as Apple makes preparations for its next-generation iPhone and the rumored iWatch will likely use LPDDR3. Furthermore, as volume production of eMCP may begin in the second half of the year, Micron’s growth potential should not be underestimated.
Winbond, mobile DRAM revenue increased by 19% QoQ, bringing its global market share to 1%. The manufacturer’s mobile memory accounted for 13% of total revenue, mainly attributed to strong low and medium-density (512Mb and 1Gb) mobile DRAM shipments.
For present, 46nm products has already accounted for around 65% of Winbond’s mobile memory revenue, a figure that is expected to continue to grow. The memory maker is considering increasing capacity to 44K wafers per month, with the ratio of mobile memory increasing as well.
Nanya,, as a result of the mobile DRAM ASP and decreased output, the mobile DRAM revenue fell by 19% QoQ in the second quarter, bringing market share down to 1%. The manufacturer is currently focusing on KGD product sales. In addition to working with top-tier module makers on eMCP products, Nanya plans to begin volume production of LPDDR3 in the second half of the year.
By entering the eMCP and MCP battle, the memory maker hopes to make gains on the feature phone and wearable device markets, which would help push its mobile DRAM revenue ratio up.